Under-Recruited Georgia Seniors

Every year in Georgia, there are prospects who are in their final high school season and go overlooked despite significant production. In recent history, guys who fit this description usually impress in college and leave schools with regrets. Here are 5 Peach State who are putting together nice seasons but still haven’t been recruited at the rate that they deserve.

6’3” SG Evan Hurst (Milton)– We all know about Milton’s immense underclassmen talent, but as the lone senior who plays significant minutes, Hurst is giving the 12-3 Eagles steady production in important games. Increased consistency has been Hurst’s biggest improvement this season. The talent and potential have been there since he was a freshman, and it seems like now he has put everything together. Hurst is scoring efficiently and has come through in some big moments for the Eagles. Deep 3’s, mid-range pull-ups, and floaters are all comfortable for him. However, on such a talented team, points are not always what’s needed from Hurst. He has embraced this and has significantly picked up his rebounding efforts this year. Hurst has the athleticism and IQ to be a good rebounder for an SG so it’s nice to see him putting it to use. Given his versatile scoring package, the fact that he has added maturity and consistent effort to his game should result in numerous college options.

5’9” PG Rakim Thompson (Woodstock)- Although Thompson was named All-County Honorable Mention in Cobb in 2018-19, he was still a guy that most weren’t familiar with coming into 2019-20. He has done his best to earn attention, averaging 19.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 5.2 APG for a Woodstock team that is 9-6. At the War Lodge Invitational, I was blown away with the pace at which he played. Thompson looked to get down the court quickly, but still read the defense well and showed some patience when waiting for things to open up in the lane. He has the ability to get into the teeth of the defense often and finishes in traffic better than you’d expect for a guy at his height. Thompson also rebounds very well for a small guard and seems to be determined in everything he does on the court. I thought it was pretty apparent that Thompson is the leader of this Woodstock group and the Wolverines go as he goes. They’ll need more of the same from him in order to finish region play strong.

6’6” F Ross Shepherd (Pope)– Shepherd has quickly turned into one of my favorite players to watch because of the energy and passion that he plays with on a nightly basis no matter the opponent or environment. He really came on as a junior for the Greyhounds last year, but wasn’t talked about much on the travel circuit this past summer. Shepherd has put people on notice since the start of the season, racking up a double-double or close to one in every game. The strides he has made in the last 2 years are really impressive and I don’t think his ceiling has been reached yet. Although he’s thin, Shepherd is effective inside because of his tough, fearless approach. He has gotten a lot more athletic, proving to be an above-the-rim threat even without much momentum. His game has also expanded to the perimeter where he can drive by opposing forwards or knock down 3’s. I’m pretty surprised that his recruitment hasn’t picked up more, but that should change soon.

5’10” PG Kameron Hobbs (Dutchtown)- It doesn’t make sense that a PG for a 14-2 team and one of the top groups in 5A is being talked about so little. Hobbs had a pretty good summer for Atlanta Xpress Hook, but I was even more impressed with him after watching Dutchtown at the TOC at Wheeler last week. With Jamaine Mann and Cam Bryant bringing energy and physicality for the Bulldogs, Hobbs provides a nice complement to them. He seems to have a good understanding of how to balance his own offensive production with the touches that those two guys, and others, require. In a big matchup with Tucker, Hobbs led Dutchtown with 22 points, knocking down 4 3’s. 2 of his triples came at crucial points late in the game as he and the team were able to come away with a solid victory. What he lacks in size, Hobbs makes up for in toughness and competitiveness. He makes productive plays after getting by guys with his quickness, helps out with his activity on defense, and is a reliable outside shooter. Hobbs is averaging 13 PPG and should help Dutchtown make a deep run in the 5A State Playoffs.

6’7” F Giancarlo Bastianoni (Trinity Christian)- I’ve thought that Bastianoni was worthy of Division 1 offers for a while now; given his recent play and comments from college coaches, I think they will be coming fairly soon. Bastianoni’s skill and versatility at his size have always been impressive, but it’s his development in other areas this winter that has been most notable. He is more explosive than he was during the travel season and is playing with a much better motor. In both TCS games I’ve watched  this season, Bastianoni rebounded with aggression and consistency, put home powerful dunks, and did not allow his effort to fall off when he wasn’t making shots or getting touches. Considering that deficiencies in those aspects were the main reasons for his lack of offers coming out of the summer, he should be rewarded for his progress. The numbers have been there in pretty much every game, and that was the case again in Trinity’s most recent win over Liberty Heights (NC), as Bastianoni contributed 21 points and 7 rebounds with 3 made 3’s.

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